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Teaching Opera to Year 9's

Discussion in 'Music' started by danesipa, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Hi all

    I'm teaching opera to Year 9's this year (not my personal decision!) and am at a bit of a loss. My boss just shows them Amadeus for 5 weeks and then sets them a written homework on Mozart, but I believe music should be learnt through music making so I want to do something a bit more interactive. I desperately want to make this unit hands on and practical but I'm really not sure how. Any suggestions? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!! So far I've taught them a unit on Rock music, developing their keyboard skills and note reading, and a unit on Electronic Dance music, where they learnt to use the computers and used the programme Magic Music Maker to make a piece of Dance music. They really enjoyed these projects because they related to them but I fear I'm going to lose them with the opera unit. Thanks in advance for your comments. Danny
     
  2. Hi all

    I'm teaching opera to Year 9's this year (not my personal decision!) and am at a bit of a loss. My boss just shows them Amadeus for 5 weeks and then sets them a written homework on Mozart, but I believe music should be learnt through music making so I want to do something a bit more interactive. I desperately want to make this unit hands on and practical but I'm really not sure how. Any suggestions? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!! So far I've taught them a unit on Rock music, developing their keyboard skills and note reading, and a unit on Electronic Dance music, where they learnt to use the computers and used the programme Magic Music Maker to make a piece of Dance music. They really enjoyed these projects because they related to them but I fear I'm going to lose them with the opera unit. Thanks in advance for your comments. Danny
     
  3. I only ever did Opera as part of an interview lesson with Year 8's, but what we did was create 'Opera Conversations' about mundane things...like
    'you stole my pen'
    'yes I stole your pen'
    'I want it back' '
    No you cannot have it back'

    That's possibly a good starter activity and you could probably expand it by going into more detail and having some listening activities such as are already on your scheme of work.

    Other ideas could be 'Class 9B the Opera' where each group creates a song towards an overall performance.
     
  4. tanbur

    tanbur New commenter

    The Royal Opera House have an excellent Fanfare Competition with entries to be submitted by 23rd March 2012.
     
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Is the group good enough to put on a classroom production of Britten's "Let's Make An Opera" ?
     
  6. trelassick

    trelassick New commenter

    Would the group want to mount a classroom production of the Britten?


    THe old Music File series had a good introduction to opera - including excerpts of Judith Weir. Try a short strong story and involve the students in scenarios as suggested earlier - say the response, then try to sing it in a stylised way. Play examples of arias and choruses which might be familiar ["Nessun Dorma" or "La Donna e mobile" for example] - investigate the way in which Madame Butterfly was adapted for Miss Saigon.


    Play some overtures to try to discover what the composer is setting up and telling the audience about the story.
     
  7. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    A more relevant question is would the group want to study opera?
    If the answer is yes, then the Britten is an excellent introduction for those that want a practical study - although I agree that purely listening to the received repertoire also has a role.
     
  8. Unbelievable!
     
  9. To engage them with the idea of opera why not start with what they know and look at a Rock Opera... Green day's album American *** is a rock opera.
    That will allow you to start introducing the concepts... R Kelly also wrote an opera, but don't show them it on Youtube as it is very explicit. It gives them the idea its just not "classical music" and will open the door then to go backwards in time and introduce other styles of opera.
    To be honest I think a whole unit on it is very dry.... I would go for a unit which shows the progression into musicals, but i suppose it is what you want to get out of it. A unit like that would not work with my pupils.
    Good luck!
     
  10. Shows them Amadeus for 5 weeks and then a written homework on Mozart!

    Sounds inspired to me - I love that man (or woman!) ;)
     
  11. Mmm! Yes and the way we hear the idea of dropping the key in the water before she actually does it in that scene by the well from pelias and melisande! Or, indeed, Mozart's teriffic quartet at the end of Cosi with four reconciing themes.
    However, I do think Opera is a good opportunity to teach more about how chords and melody fit together - after all that was the purpose of the basso continuo wasn't it - chorda; frameworks over which melody was laid. You also get word painting and word setting.
    It's a great topic!
    I'm shocked! However Jesus Christ Super Star was one of the pieces of music theatre that helped me fall in love with the genre.
     

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